Reading Comprehension 1

'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens

Read the following extract from Chapter One of 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens. Complete each gap with the most appropriate word:

'Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old
[1. man/pensioner/sinner] ! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an [2. ember/oyster/owl] . The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin [3. hair/lips/face] blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low [4. temperature/voice/features] always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days, and didn’t thaw it one [5. ounce/bit/degree] at Christmas.

'External heat and cold had little influence on
[6. him/Scrooge/them] . No warmth could warm, no wintry weather
[7. chill/soothe/calm] him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less
[8. available/near/open] to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one
[9. respect/condition/advantage] . They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge [10. often/never/surely] did.

'Nobody ever [11. asked/stopped/kept] him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life
[12. enquired/required/told] the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs [13. wanted/came/appeared] to know him; and, when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into
[14. place/shops/doorways] and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark [15. master/sir/presence] !"'


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